Each year, I undergo my annual physical.
Last year, while in the doctor's waiting room, I leafed through a Psychology Today magazine and read an article about dreams. "Dreams are the stories the brain tells during sleep. They collect images, feelings, and memories that occur during slumber," the essay said.
Soon after my examination, my wife, Brenda, and I headed out for dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. As we drove along, I mentioned to Brenda the article about dreams.
"Brenda, do you mind if we stop at Sam's Club? I'm gonna do something I only do twice a year."
"Let me guess," she said. "I bet you're going to eat a hot dog. Please don't spoil your supper, and anyway, you know hot dogs make you dream."
I bought a hot dog, strode over to the comfortable patio set on display, sat down in a round lawn chair, and ate my hot dog.
In no time, I felt sleepy.
"Brenda, I'm sorry but I won't be able to go to dinner tonight. I need to go to Cleveland."
"Go ahead. I will have something to eat later," she responded.
The normal three-hour trip to Cleveland only took twelve minutes. That should have been my first inkling something was awry.
I could think of no good reason I was in Cleveland, but quickly found myself on bus number 6 at Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street. We stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a man in a blue sweater boarded the bus.
He sat down across from me and opened a newspaper. He was wearing mirror sunglasses, like Boss Godfrey in 'Cool Hand Luke.' He hummed to himself as we drove along.
The humming brought back a quote from Mrs. Meredith Brown, our seventh-grade music teacher. "I like to hear a man hum," she told our class one day.
We passed Prospect Street, and the man in the sunglasses pulled the cord above his head. "I need to get off here," he advised the bus operator.
As he departed the bus, he paused and said to me, "I want you to have this magical watch. I expect you will enjoy it."
Over my protest, he handed me the watch and began running full speed down Euclid Avenue.
At the next bus stop a young man about 20 years old, dressed in a blue blazer with grey pants, sat down in the seat the other man had just vacated. He glared at me and said, "Sir, I need that magic watch you're wearing."
I ignored him and hopped up from my seat and sprinted down a side street in a very rough end of town.
I was running for blocks like I was 20 years old.
Stopping at an intersection, a man on crutches asked if I wanted to buy some oxygen. Although I didn't need oxygen I thought, why not, and bought a large canister with 'No Smoking' labeled across the top.
After hoisting the canister over my back, I continued running. I saw a group of men in an alley. "Would you guys like a squirt of oxygen?" I asked.
"Sure, man." one gentleman responded. He took a big whiff as he passed the oxygen canister around to the other men sitting in the circle.
I took off running again, and noticed my special watch had a phone, text, and video. It also had magical powers. When I arrived back downtown, the young man in the blue blazer jumped in front of me and shouted, "I need that magic watch!"
He chased me down an alley toward the Cuyahoga River, past Lake Erie, before we finally entered an old warehouse, one like you might see in a Mafia movie.
Just then the phone on my watch rang. "Pat, Governor Mike DeWine," the voice at the other end said. "Would you do me a favor? I'm late for the Reds and Indians game. Would you run down to the stadium and call me back on your watch with the score?"
"I sure will, Governor," I answered.
I sat in a seat behind third base and called the Governor. "Governor, the Reds are leading 4-3," I said.
The sun was scorching, and since I had been running for over an hour, I soon fell asleep.
About 40 minutes later, an usher approached and shook me. "Pat, wake up! I knew that hot dog would do that to you." Blinking my eyes open, I discovered it wasn't an usher, it was Brenda, and I wasn't in Progressive Field. I was in Sam's Club, still sitting in that comfy lawn chair.
"Were you dreaming?" she asked.
"I'm not sure. Let me check my magic watch."
When we arrived at our restaurant, the server wished us a Happy Anniversary, and asked what we'd like to eat.
"Anything but a hot dog," I replied, as I rubbed my wrist only to discover my magic watch was gone.